They say you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone. I feel this truth in my bones, when I see my mother break because of the loss. I wish I could comfort her more, but as a daughter I can only do so much. I wish she lived closer to her sisters so that your four daughters could grieve together and heal together over your deaths. I have seen you both in my dreams, and I wake with such an aching sadness because I know the reality- you two are gone forever. I have to remind myself that it is indeed a blessing that I got to spend time with you both.
You came here once, many years ago. It was your first time visiting America. I remember how excited you were Grandpa, and how nervous you were Grandma. Both of your eyes lit up as your son-in-law drove you through the streets of Texas and you witnessed so many things for the first time. I remember the night we went to go see fireworks on the Fourth of July. The two of you were like children, soaking up all the joy and fun and having the time of your lives.
I wish I got to show you more of the world. I wish I spent more time with you. I wish I spoke to you more after you went back home, on the other side of the world. I wish I could tell you how sorry I am that I did not appreciate your presence enough. I believed you to be invincible. I believed you would both be around to see all of your grandchildren grow, change, get married, have kids of their own, and continue on with your legacy.
I hope you know that your legacy is not only your children and their children and so on, but it is also what all of these children do with their lives and the teachings you gave them. I wish I could tell you how brave your youngest daughter, my mother, is. I wish I could tell you how strong she is for leaving her entire family behind and starting a new life with my father in an unknown world. I wish I could tell you how grateful I am to you both for allowing her that space and freedom to dream, because that is what she has given me. I wish I could say thank you. I wish I could show you the significance and weight of those two words through a million actions.
Maybe I still can, even if you can’t see it or hear the thank you. I can still live a life you two would be proud of. I can still take the things you taught my mother, who then taught me, and continue your legacy of loving, of giving, of strength, of having faith, of working hard. That’s what I’ll do. I hope I make you proud.
Dedicated to my maternal grandparents, who are resting peacefully together.